Ted van Beek’s reviews of double-reed harmonicas are well worth a look if you’re considering buying one of these unusual instruments. Here’s Ted’s take on the Hering Vencedora.
The Hering Vencedora (Model 76/80) is a double-sided Tremolo-Tuned harp with 20 holes and 40 reeds per side. It is available in the key of A + E. Another version, with 16 holes per side is also available (Model 76/64). The Vencedora is made in Brazil. The street price is $20 US to $30. The review is based on two new harps.
This harp comes in a plastic baggie, the kind you see with cat toys in them at the Dollar Store. It is totally out of character with the quality of the harmonica. The
harp is perhaps a bit plain in appearance with a bright and even chrome finish. The light tan wooden comb has a nice look to it, all external edges are covered with a clear finish that is quite smooth.
Both harps played well out the box, (OK, the baggie). All the notes sounded and were in tune, and all reeds had a well balanced response. Both harps were air-tight.
On the Bench
The overall dimensions measured at 5.9×2.1×0.8 inches. The stainless steel covers are 0.014” thick, about medium weight. The only bracing for the wide covers is around the edges, so it does not take much squeezing force to cause thumb indentations in the middle part of the covers. There are four separate reed plates. The reed plates are a Yellow Brass, 0.9 mm thick. Each plate is held in place by 8 small nails, which fortunately are placed into the thick part of the comb, not the reed chamber walls. The wooden comb uses equal length reed chambers, the bottoms of the chambers have an elliptical front-to-back profile that is different for individual reeds. I could not determine the type of wood used.
All the reeds on both harps were accurately centered and straight. There were no loose reeds. All reeds were gapped consistently.
As usual with nailed plates and wooden combs, re-assembly takes a bit of care so as not to damage the existing nail holes. I wet the nails before driving them
After the Break-in
The harps were still airtight after re-assembly, with most of the leakage caused by gaps between the reed chamber walls and the plates. These would seal after a
few minutes of playing. The reed tuning was consistent, Just Intonation, centered around 442/450. The beat note was prominent and clear. Reed response was very smooth. Overall volume was average for a double-sided Tremolo.
Playing these harps is a pleasure. The mouthpiece design provides good tactile feedback, yet is not rough on the mouth. The tone of the harp is distinct, robust, and easily controllable.
Final rating (on a five star scale)
Out of the box: Three and a half stars.
Both harps played very well straight out of the baggie. The minus side is that awful baggie, and the nailed assembly. Harps require maintenance. That means that eventually the harp will be damaged because of the use of those nails.
After Setup: Four stars.
The factory did an excellent job of setting the harps up, so the improvement (mainly balancing reed response, and slight tuning differences) was minimal. Overall, this is a delightful instrument.
One bit of bad news: these harps are difficult to obtain, but worth waiting for.